When my boyfriend and I first started looking for a house to rent in mid-February, our biggest concern was being able to find a space that was bigger than our current apartment, that also had ample privacy. See, at the time, the first few cases of Coronavirus had only just been reported in the US and a full-on lockdown seemed like an unlikely nightmare. After just a few weeks of house hunting, we fell in love with a three-bedroom, two-bathroom space that was mostly hidden from the neighbors and was a huge improvement in terms of square-footage. We instantly applied and, less than a week later, were approved for a late March move-in. Throughout that process, COVID-19 was quickly spreading throughout the US and conditions were changing by the hour. Los Angeles County had already declared a local and public emergency on March 4, but even though social restrictions had yet to be put in place, we were on high alert. Turns out, we weren’t alone.
Our hometown had erupted into chaos in what seemed like a quick snap, and we became increasingly worried about the status of our move. Hell, my boyfriend went to pick up a couple weeks’ worth of groceries and spent over seven hours between Ralph's and Costco. And when we went to sign all of the necessary paperwork, the office manager used a Clorox wipe to scrub down the pens before he handed them over to us for our signatures. He did the same to the keys to our new home.
Between the day we were approved and the day we moved in, my boyfriend and I started social distancing, mostly in an attempt to begin packing up our things and also because our work events, meetings, and gigs were being canceled (I'm a freelance writer and he's a drummer). Then, what seemed like the worst possible scenario happened: The state of California issued the "safer at home" policy on March 19, just 24 hours before we were scheduled to move into our place. We were panicked, to say the least.
Luckily, we also had a three-week overlap period between the leases on the apartment and the new house, so we were able to start moving at our own pace. Small things like chairs and boxes of books were carted over in our small SUV in the days leading up to the official move date, but we knew that bigger pieces like our bed, fridge, dressers and work desks could not fit in our car.